Toronto FC’s midfielder Armando Cooper, left, celebrates his assist on a goal by teammate Drew Moor, not shown, with teammate Tsubasa Endoh, right, who also assisted, during first half MLS soccer action against the New England Revolution, in Toronto. MLS champion Toronto FC started work on next season’s roster Thursday, declining contract options on eight players. While some may be back, the moves allow Toronto some roster room. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

MLS Cup champion Toronto FC wastes little time locking up veteran Drew Moor

TORONTO — With his two boys born in Canada, Drew Moor feels right at home in Toronto.

So despite free agency looming, it didn’t take the veteran defender long to sign a new deal with Toronto FC. Less than a week after winning the MLS Cup, Moor agreed to a one-year contract extension plus an option.

The negotiations were simple, said Moor, despite putting them off until after the playoffs to be able to focus on the task at hand.

“It was positive from both sides,” Moor said in an interview. “I’m extremely excited to get the deal done. There’s just no other place … I’d rather be right now.”

The Texas native, who turns 34 in January, was eligible for free agency at the end of the year. He made US$261,750 this season, seventh-highest among Toronto players.

Moor has been the anchor of the Toronto defence since joining the club two years ago as a free agent from Colorado. Able to read the game from the back, the cerebral centre back is also a threat to score from set pieces.

Moor’s signing leaves defenders Steven Beitashour and Jason Hernandez as Toronto’s two remaining potential free agents.

While the option on the new contract is pretty standard in Major League Soccer, Moor says he is putting no limits on how long he can play.

“If I go out next season and have a very good year and do the things that they want me to do, hopefully they’ll pick up that option and I’ll stay for 2019. if not, then we’ll obviously have to back to the drawing board.”

He expects his role to stay the same, eating up minutes at the centre of defence.

“There hasn’t been any discussions yet. I think they expect me to come back and be who I am. And that is a guy that comes in and works hard every day and pushes himself to be better and pushes my teammates to be better. And does everything I can to help this club be a successful one.

“And if that’s on the field, then that’s awesome. And if it’s in a leadership role where I didn’t see the field as much, then that’s awesome as well. But to me personally I want to come and play as much as possible.”

The 13-year MLS veteran made 34 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring two goals and adding an one assist as Toronto won the MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship.

He has played 57 regular-season games and scored five goals over the last two years with TFC, in recent months at the centre of Toronto’s three-man backline.

Moor missed seven games after being sidelined with a cardiac arrhythmia — or irregular heartbeat — which was detected in April thanks to the heart monitors and GPS chips the players wear during practice.

Doctors found a minor defect in his heart which they were able to correct via a 3 1/2-hour procedure in Boston called an ablation to restore normal heart rhythm.

Moor ranks eighth on the MLS all-time appearances list (regular season) for outfield players. Overall he has appeared in a combined 384 games (MLS regular season and playoffs) with 27 goals and eight assists.

Prior to joining Toronto, Moor spent seven seasons with Colorado and helped the Rapids win the MLS Cup in 2010.

“Drew has been an important part of our club’s successes for the past two seasons. Both sides eagerly wanted to ensure this partnership would continue beyond 2017,” Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement.

“He and his family chose Toronto two years ago as a free agent. We’re happy they have committed to stay and that we’re able to keep a man of great character as well as an important, experienced leader as we defend our championship next season.”

Moor’s sons are 18 months (Joey) and four months (Ryan).

“They both have both passports and we’re extremely proud that they do,” said Moor. “Obviously they don’t understand how cool that is now but hopefully they’ll understand one day.”

Moor was originally drafted by FC Dallas, sixth overall in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, and played alongside Toronto coach Greg Vanney in Texas. He began his collegiate career at Furman University before moving to Indiana University where he won NCAA championships in 2003 and 2004.

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